Whose ideas was it anyway to cram 365 days worth of glad tidings, good cheer, shopping, baking and entertaining into the month of December? Can we point the finger at Martha Stewart? Wal-Mart? Or people like us who love the holly jolly idea on paper? Yes to all three. We all have some culpability in the overwhelming Christmas season that can sometimes get the best of us.
Here are a few things I need to remember to keep the crazies out of December and keep the fun, joy and meaning in the mix. They might strike a chord with you too.
- Perfect isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. In fact, most people don’t even like perfect. We like to see a little underbelly when it comes to our fellow holiday high achievers. There’s something freeing about knowing that you’re not the only one who puts all of the beautiful ornaments on the front of the tree and hangs the sentimental but sometimes lame ornaments on the back. Other’s foibles and faux pas make us feel good about ourselves.
- BYOB to the rescue. Share the fun and the responsibility by saying “YES!!” when someone asks if they can bring something to your party or dinner. People love the chance to fix their favorite dessert or bring their traditional side dish to an event. It makes them feel useful and also gets them off the hook for the perfect hostess gift. (Who needs another box of candy anyway?)
- Deal a blow to the comparison game. Am I the only one who comes home from a holiday party feeling like a yuletide yodeler because the expensive, professionally made wreath at the party makes my homemade front door wreath look like something I rescued out of the neighbor’s trash? Rather than dis my stuff or envy someone else’s things, I want to be thankful for what I have and enjoy what others have as well.
- Make sure you stop and sip the cider. Too often I realize at the end of a wonderful evening of entertaining, where I was able to use many of my love language expressions of acts of service, that while the house was inviting, the food delicious, and the guests all treated as special, I failed to actually experience all of this with my guests. I love to serve behind the scenes, but if I stay there, I miss out on the extraordinary privilege of valuing my guests and myself by taking some time to get to know them better and letting them get to know me better too.
- Don’t forget the Baby in the manger. My Jewish neighbors used to be so puzzled by all of the “fuss” we go to for Christmas. I think I get their point if this were just about presents and eating and decorations. In fact, it would appear very self indulgent because all of those things could just be for us. But as I told my neighbors, Christmas is a celebration of the most important event of all time. The babe in the manger grew up to be the Savior of the world. What a gift!!
Christmas is an all-out, no holds barred party that can go on all year long in our hearts and home. We just have to make sure we don’t overdo it on all the trimmings in our zeal to celebrate the birth of our Messiah. Do I hear a hearty Ho, Ho, Ho of agreement?
But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”
- Galatians 4:4-6 NLT